I remember my first year of playing football. I loved competing and playing with my friends.
In seventh grade, the coaches did not have sophisticated headsets and hand signals to relay the offensive plays to the quarterback. Instead, our coach would substitute a wide-receiver into every play. Before the receiver would run on the field, the coach would give him the play. Then, he would go to the quarterback and tell him the play. Finally, the quarterback would approach the huddle and tell the rest of us which play to run.
When I think about God’s plan for spreading the gospel to all nations, it reminds me of my seventh grade coach. God gives us the gospel and then expects us to continue relaying the message of Christ to those who need to hear.
This first occurs in Genesis 12 when God speaks to Abram (notice his name hasn’t been changed to Abraham quite yet.)
In Genesis 12:1, God tells Abram to “go.” Sound familiar? This command is a part of God’s mission to spread out people with his Glory. God doesn’t tell Abram where to go yet, but He just says go. (Notice that it takes great faith to follow God).
Next, God makes promises to Abram. Verses 2-3 are famously called the Abrahamic Covenant. God vows to make Abram into a great nation and to make Abram’s name great. Then, God explains why: “so that you will be a blessing.”
God explains in verse three that He is blessing Abram so that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
In other words, just like my seventh grade football coach chose one player to take the message to the rest of the team, God chose Abram to take the blessing of God to the nations!
The Abrahamic Covenant could be summed up with the phase, “God blessed Abram in order to be a blessing to all nations.” But it doesn’t end there. The covenant extended to all of Abram’s descendants (who would become the nation of Israel).
How did that blessing come about? It was more than a financial blessing or the blessing of lands. The ultimate blessing that came through Abram and the nation of Israel is Christ. That’s right, Jesus came from Abram’s lineage (He was born into a Jewish family).
That’s where you and I come into the picture. The Bible says that if we are in Christ, we are children of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). In this way, people from all geographic nations can join in Israel as they trust in Christ.
That’s why God changed Abram’s name to “Abraham.” Abraham means “father of many nations.” Does that remind you of the old “Father Abraham” song from Sunday School? Father Abraham had many sons/ and many sons had father Abraham/ I am one of them, and so are you/ so let’s just praise the Lord!
This means that the covenant given to Abraham and Israel is now passed down to us. We have been blessed by God in order to be a blessing to all nations. Now, let’s get out of the huddle and run the play!